There is lots of emotion being stirred up by the eco-terrorists against fracking, including three recent letters to the editor in the Daily Times. It is impossible to argue with emotion. But to ignore the facts doesn't change the facts. Here's the facts on fracking… zero out of a million. Lisa Jackson, the former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and no friend to big business, testified before Congress that there have been zero proven cases of water contamination due to fracking. With over a million wells fracked since before 1960, that is a fact the eco-terrorists choose to ignore.
Now that doesn't mean the oil and gas industry, like virtually every industry, doesn't occasionally make a mess. But when we do, we isolate it, limit its extent, and clean it up. But whatever messes we have made have absolutely ZERO to do with fracking. If you understand the process, the math and the physics show it's impossible to frack through more than 5000 feet of layered sediments. The fractures are initiated in the target layer, they grow up to the boundary of the next layer, and then they grow away from the wellbore in the primary layer. Fractures do not normally grow from one layer into the next. That is what we want… a long frack that stays in zone and drains a large area. But though the volumes of water and sand sound humongous, even in the best of circumstances, the fracks only grow 300 to 500 feet away from the wellbore. So even if a frack wanted to grow vertically into adjacent layers (which the physics don't like) we aren't pumping enough volume to get even close to the surface (which the math proves out).
But you don't have to understand something to argue about it. All you have to do is talk loud, wave your arms, and stir the emotion. Sadly, that is another fracking fact!
This letter is in response to the three Albuquerque letters appearing in The Farmington Daily Times on Saturday May 10th. True the scenery is beautiful with so many spectacular landscapes. I believe people are selfish to think you can't have both beautiful landscapes and oil too.
If fracking can take place in our state like what is going on in North and South Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah, think of all the jobs it would bring to New Mexico. Did you know North Dakota was the fastest growing state in the United States in population last year?
This was due, in large part, to fracking causing the oil boom. Think what that could do in New Mexico.
Everyone who wanted to work could. Unemployment would be at a minimum. People would be spending more money. Business profits would be up instead of barely making it. More taxes would be collected and paid to the state. I think New Mexico could certainly benefit from a growing economy. As a Senior citizen on a fixed income, I certainly support the oil and gas industry and their exploration and production.
I was very disappointed to see the three recent letters from the ladies in Albuquerque regarding fracking the Mancos shale near Chaco Canyon. I often marvel at the arrogance of people who move to a state from another part of the country, find fault with the industries that have provided good jobs for its residents for many years, and demand those industries be shut down.
Two of the letter writers admitted they moved to Albuquerque from elsewhere. None of them live in San Juan County. It is probably no coincidence that the letters were submitted at the time of the Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference, of which a major topic of interest was the Mancos shale. So here we have three people who do not live in San Juan County, two of which came to New Mexico from another state, who obviously do not understand much about the drilling and completion processes that make gas and oil wells produce, complaining about what we do here for a living.
The common concern is that fracking the Mancos shale near Chaco Canyon will destroy it. I have news for you ladies. Fracking has been done near Aztec Ruins for more than 50 years, and it is still standing. Fracking has been done near Salmon Ruins and Angel Peak for many years also and no harm has come to those sites.
The obvious motive behind such letters is a severe dislike of the oil and gas industry. However, I thought of another motive that could explain a lot. Many people from the East and Northeast have moved to New Mexico and other Western states to enjoy the warm sunny weather. They also like the lower housing prices. One way to make housing prices drop is to shut down the industries that provide jobs for the residents of that area. We are already seeing a depressed real estate market due to the severe decline in drilling over the past several years. Imagine how much more depressed the market will get and how much lower home prices will go if the Mancos shale development is stopped. When you add the impacts of shutting down the five units at the local coal-fired power plants the potential impact on the economy and real estate market is amplified.
Fracking is not going to destroy Chaco Canyon, but allowing people who do not reside in San Juan County to pressure the BLM to stop development of the Mancos shale could destroy the economy of this area.